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Procurement of 1800RESPECT 1.4 MB

1800RESPECT is Australia’s national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling service, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was a flagship initiative of the first National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (the National Plan) and remains a core component of the second National Plan, both of which have been administered by the Department of Social Services.

1800RESPECT counselling and support services are delivered by third party providers. The department commenced a procurement process in 2020 to select a new provider and change the funding arrangements from a grant agreement to a contract. The procurement process took two years to complete, resulting in a five-year contract for around $200 million being executed on 24 January 2022.

Officials from non-corporate Commonwealth entities are required to undertake procurements in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and, in particular, achieve value for money. This performance audit was conducted to provide assurance to the Parliament that the procurement process undertaken by the department is likely to deliver a service that can meet increasing demand and provide the highest quality support within the projected cost.

Key findings:

  • The department’s 2020 to 2022 procurement of counselling and support services provided through 1800RESPECT was effective and has the potential to achieve value for money when the performance management framework is fully implemented and an evaluation strategy and plan are developed.
  • The department’s 2020 to 2022 tender process to procure a new 1800RESPECT service provider was effective and has the potential to achieve value for money.
  • The department appropriately managed the transition of 1800RESPECT from Medibank Health Solutions Telehealth Pty Ltd (MHS) to Telstra Health Pty Ltd (Telstra Health) and maintained service continuity. The department has designed fit for purpose administrative arrangements, including an approved contract management manual and governance framework, both of which are still being implemented.
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Auditor-General Report No.15 2022–23